Virtual Working – The Good, The Bad And How To Avoid The Ugly
Lockdown has meant that many businesses have had to revert to virtual working and, in most cases, it was at very short notice and most businesses were not prepared for this. In London alone, 57% of people did some form of home working during the lockdown period. This has meant a decline for businesses relying on people coming into the capital for work such as shops, hospitality and transport and the Government is encouraging workers to get back into the office to support these industries. Actually, scrap that sentence. This was written prior to the announcement this week that the government is again encouraging people to work from home! However, with the threat of a second peak on the horizon and those that worked from home enjoying the lack of commute, will we ever go back to the 9-5 in an office or is the future flexible?
Research by the TUC in 2019 suggests that the average commute in the UK is almost an hour each way. When you multiply that twice per day, five times a week, the average Briton wastes 10 days each year going back and forth to work. This is before train delays, traffic jams and breakdowns are factored in. Then there are the jobs that require travel to various locations during the day. It all adds up to a lot of time doing not a lot. Virtual working has put a stop to all that commuting. It has meant more time with family and friends, time to exercise or cook, time to do what makes you happy. For Kan Do Ventures it’s meant all this and also the ability to reach more clients every day. Instead of travelling for face to face meetings we are able to Zoom call and see more people. Great for us and great for the environment.
Even with video chat, messaging services and all the technology the we have at our fingertips we can still feel disconnected from people. Nothing beats a face to face meeting sometimes and working together with colleagues in an office encourages organic collaboration that you just don’t get sat at your kitchen table. Working from the same space that you live, eat and sleep can also mean that workers find it difficult to set boundaries. It’s hard enough leaving an office and leaving the work behind but what if you never leave your “office”. Where do you draw the line between work and home life. It all becomes blurred and this can lead to you working far more hours than intended and never being able to switch off that work persona.
Avoiding The Ugly
At Kan Do Ventures our work ethos is based around wellbeing and positivity. That’s why we are always talking about a Kan Do attitude. You can’t be at your best in your work life if you aren’t looking after yourself and that means physically, mentally and emotionally. To stop working from home turning ugly we have a few tips that we have been implementing ourselves.
Structure your day – The structure does not need to be the same one as you had in a real office but the routine will help you stay on track. Segment your day and schedule in a proper break. Your break should involve leaving the house. Go for a walk, a drive, or if the weather allows, spend some time in the garden. KDV team members favour heading out to Pott Shrigley to visit Kickback Coffee for a socially distanced brew and catch up.
Set your space – Set up a dedicated work space. It will make you feel more productive and it will be easier to walk away from at the end of the day. The Boss (Chun-Kit) always has coffee to hand, all his equipment and in the morning a delicious breakfast!
Stay connected – Even if you are not working on a project together be sure to schedule in time to chat to your team. Regular contact will help you work better together when you need it and stop feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Get out – If you can (and if COVID allows) try and work from somewhere else. A local coffee shop, park or even a colleagues house are all options which will allow a change of scenery.
Know when to stop – At the end of the working day have a clear finish time. If your workspace is also in your leisure space be sure to pack everything away, this creates clear separation and helps you to get out of work mode and relax.
Most of all, make time to talk to your friends, colleagues and family. You may not need it, but they might do and in these crazy times we need to help each other.